A New Type Of Credit Score Is Coming

The current score system works well in that it provides a sufficient way to figure out low costs and in an automated way how likely someone is able repay you. But it has a disadvantage in that a lot of people don’t provide a payment history because they don’t have credit cards such as younger people and immigrants.

Ultra FICO changes that dynamic by using consumer contributed data. The Fair Isaac Corp., the creators of FICO, announced that Ultra FICO will be more widely released in April 2019. Alongside traditional metrics, the Ultra FICO looks at your banking behavior in 3 areas:

  • Your account history
  • Your account balance
  • Your account activity

It gives consumers the ability to give permission for their data—rich data that can be used as valuable insight for lenders. It has the potential to score people that are considered unscorable and enhance existing scores. This may help people get better interest rates.

Marketplace.org reported that “there are 53 million people in the United States who do not have FICO scores, and the new Ultra FICO will catch 10 million to 15 million of those.”

Don’t look for Ultra FICO to replace the regular FICO score. Ultra FICO is voluntary, so it will likely be used to give more insight to lender if the regular FICO is not high enough to qualify the consumer.

 


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Should You Get A Real Estate License?

Real estate is a fluctuating industry with potential for large profits and a flexible schedule. The question is, "Is it right for you?"

Question 1: Is the Michigan real estate market going to continue growing?

Several sources believe Michigan's real estate market will continue to grow even as rising mortgage rates slow the market for sellers in other areas of the country. Home prices in Grand Rapids are forecast to grow at 8.2%, the largest home price increase in the nation. In fact, real estate resources nationwide are encouraging investment in the Grand Rapids area. The city also ranks second for the hottest real estate markets for millennials.

Grand Rapids isn't the only area of Michigan experiencing growth. Numbers recently released by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's office show residential property values have increased by an average of 12% in more than 90% of Detroit neighborhoods. The rest of the state is expected to experience continually growing housing prices but a declining number of homes on the market. While this may sound like bad news initially, growing home prices mean higher commission rates which can make up for the lower volume of sales.

In other words, while the rest of the country is preparing for a decreasing real estate market, Michigan can expect to see continued growth in urban areas and stable growth in the rural north.

Question 2: What makes a successful real estate salesperson?

Successful salespersons come in many forms, while it is not necessary to possess all of the below personality traits, these are a few that most success stories share.

  1. Social. This is a big one. You need to feel comfortable speaking to home buyers, other agents, and potential clients. Successful agents network constantly and put a lot of value in their earned relationships. This is key to getting referrals and growing your business.
  2. Self-motivated. Your broker probably won't want to hold your hand for very long. You need to be able to complete tasks and find clients without outside motivation.
  3. Relatable. Home buyers want a real estate agent they can trust. It is important that they feel you understand their needs and concerns on a personal level to assure the client you have their best interests in mind.
  4. Persistent. Sometimes your deals with fall through. Its a big part of the job that you cannot let discourage you.
  5. Analytical. Accomplished agents can determine which homes and clients have the highest chance of success.

Question 3: Can I fit this into my current schedule?

The short answer - probably. Many salespeople start out parttime, this is a great way to dip your toe into the waters without becoming overwhelmed with start-up fees. Your schedule can be as flexible as your clients allow, making it easy to work around another job.

Question 4: How do I get started?

  1. Complete an approved 40 hour Michigan Real Estate Fundamentals Course.
    All potential salespeople in Michigan must complete an approved 40 Hour course. Real Estate Training Institute offers this course online in HD video so you can fit it into your busy schedule. The onscreen instructor, Gwyn Besner is available to answer any questions you have while taking the course.
  2. Submit your real estate license application. Go to www.michigan.gov/icola to apply for a license.
  3. Register with PSI for your exam. The cost for the Salesperson or the Broker exam is $76 and the tests are timed (180 minutes).

You can find detailed instructions here.


Licensing Resources

Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Real Estate Salesperson

Why You Should Upgrade to A Broker License

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Broker License

 


ONLINE STATE-APPROVED 40-HOUR PRELICENSE COURSE

Cyber Crime and Real Estate

Technological advances have certainly made many aspects of our job easier, but along with them come certain risks. Cybercriminals have found creative ways to infiltrate the world of real estate, often costing their victims hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In a public service announcement released July 12, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported that the real estate industry has become especially susceptible to business email compromises (BECs) and email account compromises (EACs). Source: Darkreading.com

Type “Cyber crimes and Real Estate” into your favorite internet search engine and you'll find many examples of criminal activity targeting Real Estate Agents and their clients.

Here are just a few of my search results:

Learn how to protect yourself and your clients with Real Estate Training Institutes 3-hour online Risk Management continuing education course.
This state-approved online video and text course will help agents prepare for the risks of doing business by helping to identify threats such as cybercrime, identity theft, and internet liability as well as anti-trust laws and OSHA regulations relevant to the real estate industry.

Here is just a snippet of the Cyber Crime chapter from this course.

Criminals are hacking into the email accounts of real estate agents or other persons involved in a real estate transaction and using information gained from the hack to dupe a party into a fraudulent wire transfer. The hackers often send an email that appears to be from an individual legitimately involved in the transaction, informing the recipient, often the buyer, that there has been a last-minute change to the wiring instructions.  Following the new instructions, the recipient will wire funds directly to the hacker’s account, which will be cleared out in a matter of minutes. The money is almost always lost forever.

The National Association of REALTORS® urges its members and state and local REALTOR® associations to be on high alert for email and online fraud. In May 2015, NAR issued an alert regarding a sophisticated email wire fraud hitting the real estate industry. Since then, the incidents of online scams targeting practitioners have continued to rise, but the advice is the same. Bottom line: Do not let your guard down! Start from the assumption that any email in your inbox could be a targeted attack from a criminal.

The course goes on to outline methods that you can use to help prevent such attacks upon you and your clients. To order this course and receive continuing education credits for license renewal visit Real Estate Training Institute and choose your state. You’ll find a list of state-approved courses available for credit as well as license renewal deadlines and information listed on your state page. Risk Management is also available as a professional development option for anyone wanting to expand their knowledge base.


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Predicting the Real Estate Market in 2019

2018 was a fickle year in Real Estate. The year started with sky-high home prices, historically low mortgage rates and a definitive upper hand for sellers. In recent months though, home price growth has wavered, rates have risen to their highest point in nearly eight years, and favor has started to shift from seller to buyer. 2019 predictions are showing that we are moving from an incredibly hot real estate market to a more normalized one. Housing inventory looks to rise back up to 2017 levels, and price growth, while likely still positive, will be the lowest we’ve seen since 2014 or possibly even 2011.

Investors and house-flippers will back away from the cooling market and sellers will have to adjust their price expectations as buyers grapple with rising mortgage rates and already-high home prices. A still-growing economy and increased access to credit will support more home buyer demand, but higher interest rates will make home-buying more expensive, so it’s hard to say whether home sales will stay down or rebound next year.

In 2019, homebuyers will enjoy more inventory and less competition from speculators and house-flippers, which will lead to more people enjoying the benefits of homeownership. It will cost more to borrow, but more people will have access to credit for home-buying. This will motivate lenders to expand their customer base to low-income borrowers and first-time homebuyers. But of course, lenders will charge more for these loans–both to cover the risk of lending to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit and to cover their own costs of borrowing.

Homebuilders will be more cautious about building during a cooling market and focus on building starter homes that are easier to sell than luxury homes. Fewer homes will be built, but more builders will focus on starter homes. Higher labor costs will limit the number of homes built, but, higher wages will increase the demand for starter-homes among working-class Americans. Rates (perhaps three times) in 2019 will increase and push the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate up to about 5.5 percent by the end of the new year.

All in all, housing is set for a slow-down next year, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The medium and long-term prospects for housing are good because demographics are going to continue to support demand. With a slower price appreciation, incomes have an opportunity to catch up. With slower sales, inventory has an opportunity to normalize. A slowdown in 2019 creates a healthier housing market going forward.

https://www.redfin.com/blog/2018/12/redfins-2019-housing-market-predictions.html


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Artificial Intelligence Opportunities in Real Estate

Real Estate, along with every other industry, has advanced from using Artificial Intelligence to improve and support healthier lifestyles for people. In commercial real estate, health-focused principles are more than just trends. They are the beginning of the industry’s promising future. From 2008 to 2017, the number of tech-oriented real estate startups have exploded from a mere 176 to over 1,200 companies. The areas in Real Estate that can really use artificial intelligence to offer healthy solutions are safety, data-driven comfort, and sustainability.

Artificial intelligence in the safety sector of commercial real estate has made a big impact. It provides, for example, better security for those that occupy these spaces. AI and machine learning use anything from voice commands to facial recognition to improve accessibility, security, and infrastructure stability after construction. Eventually, developers will be implementing robots to assist with inspection and repairing damage without utilizing human workers, making it safer for everyone.

Real Estate companies have realized the usefulness of AI data and sensor technology to provide higher comfort and more efficient spaces for consumers. Buildings can become personalized for monitoring, home safety and even senior care. For example, motion sensors can track the tenant’s daily movements so it can then adjust door locks, faucets, electronic devices and monitor optimal temperatures for each tenant. Even though these are simple solutions consumers will enjoy focusing on bigger things while your home adjusts to your comfort.

In Manhattan AI has been implemented in commercial structures already, one such project is the Empire State Building. It currently collects data to identify the buildings energy efficiency so adjustments can be made to keep this historical monument standing and useful for as long as possible. It’s not just HVAC systems and lighting controls that AI can help with. It can also identify roof and insulation issues during construction and water usage patterns which can then be used to identify the best materials to use during construction to offer energy efficient resolutions.

In time, Artificial Intelligence can provide the Real Estate market even more opportunities to make a sale by offering a safe haven with technology both inside and outside of the home.


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Iowa Real Estate FAQ

Iowa real estate agents must renew their licenses by December 31st every three years. Here's everything you need to know to renew your license on time.

What are my Iowa real estate continuing education requirements?

Iowa real estate Salespersons and Brokers are required to complete 36 hours of continuing education each three-year licensing cycle. The 36 hours of education must include 8 hours of law updates, 4 hours of ethics, and 24 hours of elective coursesNote: Only 24 hours may be taken online each three-year renewal period.

How often must I renew my Iowa real estate license?

Iowa real estate licenses must be renewed every three years.

When do I need to renew my Iowa real estate license?

Iowa real estate licenses must be renewed prior to December 31st in your licensing year. The 2017 renewal cycle will be available starting in mid-November. You cannot renew your license before the cycle is open.

Are your courses approved by the Iowa Real Estate Commission?

Yes! Our provider ID is 248. Course approval numbers are included in the course title.

Do you report my continuing education to Iowa Real Estate Commission?

The Iowa Real Estate Commission does not require education providers to report continuing education completions.

How long do I have to complete my Iowa real estate courses after I purchase them?

Individual courses are available for six months from the date of purchase. The purchase of a package will give you access to the coursework for the full length of your licensing cycle (3 years).

Do I have to complete my Iowa real estate courses all at once?

No! You do not have to complete each course in one sitting. Your courses are available to you from any internet enabled device, and our system will keep track of where you start and stop. Our courses are usually broken into 20-25 minutes intervals, which will make it easy for you to complete your course when it’s convenient for you!

How do I renew my Iowa real estate license?

Starting in November 2017, license renewals will be processed through Iowa PLB. The renewal period will begin on November 16, 2017. You’ll need to create your Iowa PLB account to use the system. You cannot renew before the cycle is open. To get started, visit the Iowa Real Estate Homepage, and follow the link for the current renewal cycle at the bottom of the page. The renewal deadline is December 31, 2017.

How much does it cost to renew my Iowa real estate license?

$125 | Salespersons
$170 | Brokers

I missed the due date for my Iowa real estate license renewal, can I still renew?

Yes. Licensees may renew their Iowa real estate license through January 31st of the following year. Example: If your license expired on December 31, 2017, you have through January 31, 2018, to renew your license. A late fee of $25 will be charged in addition to your license renewal fee.


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Haunted Houses Scare Buyers Away

Sellers are required to disclose material defects such as a structural issue or a leaky roof, but when it comes to a haunted house’s reputation, if it elicits an “emotional response,” that’s when it gets tricky for real estate agents.  Haunted houses are often stigmatized and scare buyers away in what may otherwise be a perfectly fine structure.

A recent survey conducted by Realtor.com shows desirable features like a reasonable price or a bigger kitchen helps buyers get past the spook factor. The survey found that 1 in 3 people are willing to take a chance on a haunted home if the deal was attractive.

In one extreme example of a haunted house impacting the sale of a property was Stambovsky v. Ackley, a landmark case in New York better known as the “Ghostbusters Ruling.” In 1989, a woman named Helen Ackley was selling her circa-1890 Queen Ann Victorian. It was a nice house right on the Hudson River in Nyack, New York, with 5 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths…..oh, and 3 poltergeists. According to Ackley, she had reported the existence of ghosts in the house to newspaper and magazine articles on 3 occasions between 1977 and 1989. Stambovsky was a buyer from out of town and claimed that Ackley and her real estate agent failed to tell him that the home had a haunting reputation. He argued that the house’s ghosts, real or imagined, affected the value and the potential for resale.

The New York Appellate Court ruled in the plaintiff’s favor stating, “as a matter of law, the house is haunted,” mostly because Ackley proclaimed it to be. Stambovsky was refunded half of his down payment and set a precedent to make sellers disclose if their house had a ghost. After the court case, Ackley had no issue finding people who want to live in a haunted house. Singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson owned the home for a short while before selling it in 2015 for $1.7 million. Although, nobody reported any spooky occurrences since Ackley sold it.


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Dress For Success

What would you do to sell a home? Most real estate photo galleries are staged and they rarely feature people but some real estate agents are taking a unique approach by dressing up in costumes to help bring more views to their listings.

In 2016, an agent in Texas dressed up as a Panda and it helped her get 12 showings in the first two days. Another agent went prehistoric and donned a T-Rex costume,  and agents in Baltimore dressed up as Spiderman and a Unicorn to show off their listings.

Real estate agents trying unconventional marketing techniques is a smart way to get listings to stand out in the internet age. People like to go viral and are always looking for something new and refreshing online. In the past, real estate agents used different strategies during open house events like baking cookies to make a home smell good or playing music to cancel out traffic noises. Dressing in a costume is just another way to get buyers to pay attention and in the door.

Real Estate agents Christina Dudley and Michael Frank think the costumes are a great way to show some of Baltimore's local flavor too. They plan on doing another stage photo shoot featuring another goofy character, but they understand it’s not for every house, agent, or seller.


ONLINE STATE-APPROVED REAL ESTATE CONTINUING EDUCATION

Last Chance for Michigan Real Estate Salespersons and Brokers!

If you’re a realtor in Michigan and you want to keep your license, listen up. Anyone who became licensed before August 2nd, 2018 is required to complete 18 hours of continuing education before October 31st, 2018. That includes 6 hours of approved continuing education for each year of the licensing cycle and 2 hours of continuing education each calendar year in Legal Updates.

The deadline is fast approaching, here’s a breakdown of what you need to know to maintain your good status as a Michigan realtor.

Who: Michigan real estate brokers and salespersons need to complete mandatory licensing, and Legal Update education courses
What: Brokers and salespersons must finish 18 hours of continuing education courses, including two hours of Legal Update courses by the deadline.
When: October 31st, 2018 is the deadline to complete these courses. It’s also the deadline to renew your license.
Where: You can complete your training online with courses you can access from any computer.
How: Finish your continuing education on your own time and with your own computer from anywhere with an internet connection. These courses let you print out a certificate immediately upon completion.

License renewal costs:
$108 - brokers
$78 - salespersons
$60 - branch offices

What if I don’t complete my continuing education by October 31st?

It’s not good news. The Michigan Department Licensing and Regulatory Affairs audit Michigan realtors regularly. If they find out you have not completed your requirements, they will require you to complete additional hours of continuing education. It could be four to eight more hours, which will not count towards the next licensing cycle’s continuing education hours.

What if I don’t renew my license by October 31st?

There is a 60 day grace period. Breathe. You’ll be okay, but the grace period ends December 31, 2018. If you renew in this time it will, however, cost you a $20 late fee.

What happens if my Michigan real estate salesperson or broker license is expired more than 60 days?

Michigan salespeople and brokers must complete reinstatement forms in order to renew their licensing. You will have to complete a salesperson reinstatement form or a broker reinstatement form in order to renew.

  • If your license is expired between 60 days & 3 years
    Pay an application processing fee, a late renewal fee, and the per year licensing fee. In addition, you must satisfy any penalties and conditions imposed by Michigan or any other jurisdiction.
  • If your license has been expired more than 3 years
    You will have to meet requirements set by the Department of Professional Licensing. You may be required to pass all or part of an exam or meet current education or training requirements.

ONLINE STATE-APPROVED REAL ESTATE CONTINUING EDUCATION

Technology May Change How Real Estate Agents View Safety

It’s important to be aware of potential security issues as technology evolves. One new concern is home surveillance. Cameras in doorbells and front entrance are becoming increasingly common with new the accessibility of technology and smart devices. Although it seems like surveillance is expected in luxury homes to watch over high-end objects, real estate agents are discovering them more in general across the home-price spectrum.

According to Twice, smart-home technology is used by 21% of U.S. households with 36% being future customers. Chicago Agent Magazine reported that “9 million homes have WiFi-enabled cameras with microphones, while 11 million have limited-function cameras on front doors on property exteriors.”

There is no federal law regarding camera surveillance on private property but there are some on the state level. Some states have a law that makes a video recording illegal when there is a situation where people have a reasonable exaction of privacy like a bathroom or changing room. But it’s hard to argue the level of expected privacy when you’re in somebody else’s home.

If an agent represents a seller who has surveillance, it’s best to make sure they are honest with the devices and make sure other parties are aware. E.g., have sign-in sheets at open houses that disclose surveillance inside a home. Although it might seem appealing to use cameras as some sort of leverage tool during the negotiation, it’s often better to be transparent for reputation purposes.


ONLINE STATE-APPROVED REAL ESTATE CONTINUING EDUCATION